School departments across the county are not only focusing on students’ academics, but also their social and emotional support and basic health and safety needs. The Augusta School Department is no exception — in fact, the Department is going above and beyond for its students in a variety of ways.
Augusta schools have placed a heavy emphasis on supporting the mental health of its students, especially in the last few years. The Department is investing in the employees needed to support its students across the middle and high school as well as four elementary schools. Guidance counselors and social workers across the district are implementing social and emotional curriculum in each and every classroom across the six different schools.
The Augusta School Department is also partnering with Kennebec Behavioral Health to provide mental health services to students and educational opportunities for staff. Specifically, training educators and resource officers to prepare them for working with children and families with complex challenges, including but not limited to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma, mental health diagnoses, substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders, and more.
Lastly, Augusta schools are helping to meet the basic health and safety needs of children and youth in order for them to be ready for learning by providing expanded access to high quality, nutritious food through free breakfast, lunch, and snacks during the school year as well as free summer food program during break. The Department is also partnering with Augusta Food Bank to offer food pantries at the middle and high school as well as backpack programs at each of the schools.
The Augusta School Department understands the importance of supporting the whole person. Students will never be able to succeed academically or otherwise if they are not receiving the help they need to address their social and emotional development and basic health and safety needs. The district plans to maintain this focus and expand upon these efforts based on needs that arise and feedback received moving forward.